Consciousness and Theory of Mind: a Common Theory?

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THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, ISSN: 0495-4548, Vol: 31, Issue: 1, Page: 73-89

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Sebastián, Miguel Ángel
UPV/EHU Press; Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
Arts and Humanities
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Many have argued that the difference between phenomenally conscious states and other kind of states lies in the implicit self-awareness that conscious states have. Higher-Order-Representationalist (HOR) theories attempt to explain such self-awareness by means of higher-order representation. Consciousness depends on our capacity to represent our own mental states: our Theory of Mind. It is generally agreed that such an ability can be decomposed into another two: mindreading and metacognition. I will argue that consciousness cannot depend on mindreading. The tenability of HOR theories depends, therefore, on the relation between mindreading and metacognition. I analyze several views on such a relation and argue that none of them seem to be a plausible option for HOR theories.